When the field of six got underway, the 13-1 longshot Nightlifeatbigblue went to the front and made all the running early, leading the procession through early fractions of 24.45, 48.37, and 1:13.45 for the first 3/4 mile. Turning for home, 3-1 third choice Polish Rifle, who had stalked him the whole way, got the lead a furlong out but this was short-lived. 2-1 second choice Gradepoint, unhurried in last early, was asked for his run by jockey Robby Albarado, and, going out wide for the stretch, rallied well to get the win by 1/2 a length over the favorite Mr. Jester in 1:45.36. Mr. Jester had been back in fifth early, rallied well but was no match for Gradepoint. It was a length back to pacesetter Nightlifeatbigblue in third, and another 1 1/4 back to Polish Rifle in fourth. Results Chart
Winning jockey Robby Albarado said, "He was much more push-button today. I don't think his best races have showed up yet because he showed a lot of improvement in this race, and I think with his connections and his breeding, he could be a top contender [for the Kentucky Derby]."
Winning trainer Neil Howard said, "I felt like he'd do better today than his last effort. I thought he would close the ground like he did. A.P. Indy's needs more time to mature, and I believe this horse is beginning to mature." Gradepoint will likely start next in the Louisiana Derby on March 7.
Steve Wren, trainer of second place finisher and beaten favorite Mr. Jester, said, "I'm very pleased. It looks like he got a little tired. It seems today that this is a tiring kind of track, and he put in a great run. I hate to run second, but under these conditions he got what he needed."
Fountain of Youth results and more from Saturday.